We were going to take our entire J-24 crew to the J-school but it fell apart. We have the course videos. They are awesome. I still may do it.
Check the regatta
website. They usually have a crew wanted/available blog going and don't give up. People fall out at the last minute.
After paying $3600 to go to Hamilton Island this year, I had to crap out. I searched all over the local scene for someone to buy me out. I pinged 3 people on the crew seeking board and was able to find someone compatible with our team who was willing to give me $1800.
The key to getting boat positions is to be 100% available and willing to do any crap job needed - pack spinnakers, do the ice run, unload the anchor
, chain and all the other crap off the boat, fold sails
- all with a smile. Skippers hate people who bomb out and they hate pikers. Get a reputation as a stand up guy and then you will go racing. The J-school is a nice label but in my opinion not a requirement.
You should also study your ass off. Read as many racing books
as you can. You won't be making any decisions in the beginning but you should have a clue what is going on. You should be able to tell all the controls on the boat recognizing many have multiple names - vang, kicker
, barberhauler, topping lift/spinnaker pole lift
, downhaul, outhaul
, cunningham, backstay, running backstays
, main/genny/spinnaker halyards, genny cars, traveller.
Read up on sail trim - North Sails
, Quantum and all the sailmakers have trimming guides on the internet
. Don't offer your skipper or crew any advice but watch carefully what they are doing. Learn to watch for gusts and puffs but don't offer information about where other boats are - most skippers don't want that information. However if they ask you should have a clue.
This means understanding your class. Arrive 2 hours early. Find out what class your boat is in. Find out what other boats are in your class - go down and see the boats. There may be 45 boats on the water but you might be only competing with 10 of them.
And for God's sake don't be late. I have seen 5 guys flicked (kicked off) in the last year for showing up 10 minutes before departure, not having helped prepare the boat at all and wondering what's for lunch. One guy didn't show at all. When he was called he said, "Seeing as how it's raining, I thought we weren't sailing" - flush...
If the skipper gives a 10AM pitch
up time be there at 9AM and walk the docks. See what's going on.
Bring your gear
but this isn't a cruise
. Gloves, hat, jacket and sunblock. Bring a liter bottle of water with your name on it. The skipper is supposed to provision the boat (unless he says different) but bringing your own water is always a good idea. If you bring a backpack for the after party or whatever, be prepared to have it left on the dock
in the sail locker - maybe unlocked.
And the last advice is don't bail right after the last race of the regatta. There is lot's of work to do putting the boat together.
Imagine this is your "craft." Be as good a craftsman as you can be and you will be appreciated by all.